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Five defenders Liverpool could move for in the January transfer window

Charlie Dear | 8 January 2019

Who will answer Klopp’s SOS call?

Liverpool are still out in front in the Premier League, but their recent defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers had bigger consequences than just being dumped out of the FA Cup.

Just moments into the game, Dejan Lovren – one of only two fit senior centre-backs – got injured.

The youngster Ki-Jana Hoever was blooded for the remaining 85 minutes. But it leaves the club with a defensive injury crisis as they go in search of their first league title for 29 years.

Joe Gomez should be back from injury in the next month, but we take a look at five targets who could hit the ground running.

Mehdi Benatia – Juventus

Benatia has been one of the elite defenders of this decade. The Moroccan has played for some of the biggest clubs in Italy and Germany but could see the Premier League as his new challenge.

He’s behind Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci in the pecking order, having made just five appearances in Serie A.

He’s reportedly unsettled in Turin and has been linked to solving Arsenal’s defensive problems.

But at 31-years-old he may believe Liverpool is where he can bag yet another league title.

Kostas Manolas – AS Roma

The tough-tackling defender has been talked about for years as a potential Premier League star.

However, he has remained in Rome for five years now. One sticking point is the players £32 million release clause doesn’t come into effect until after the January transfer window closes.

So unlike Benatia, he will cost a hefty fee upwards of £40 million this month – but the Reds haven’t been put off by spending big money recently.

A Manolas-Virgil van Dijk partnership is mouth-watering. This will be one that could drag into the summer.

Dayot Upamecano – RB Leipzig

If Liverpool are looking longevity in this position, a handful of names crop up. One of those is RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano.

He’s part of a back-line that has conceded the fewest goals in the Bundesliga this season (17).

Upamecano combines strength and agility with a composure beyond his years, which fits the bill for Klopp.

The defender has come through the Red Bull conveyor belt at Salzburg, but now could be his time to show the world who how good he really is.

Eliaquim Mangala – Manchester City

This one is slightly left field, but could work if Klopp is after a quick fix for a six month period.

Mangala was a regular in the Man City team alongside Vincent Kompany between 2014 and 2016. But he’s been ousted during Pep Guardiola’s reign by John Stones and Aymeric Laporte.

He has since spent a season on loan at Valencia and then an injury-hit spell at Everton.

This could resemble Liverpool’s move for Steven Caulker in 2016. But Mangala’s experience and nous could be the perfect tonic for the Merseysiders.

But would City let him go to their title rivals?

Toby Alderweireld – Tottenham Hotspur

The rumour mill hasn’t stopped churning for over a year on Toby Alderweireld’s future at Spurs.

His contract was running down and all signs pointed to a move to Old Trafford last summer.

However, Jose Mourinho sacking by Manchester United has left the defenders future in doubt.

Spurs recently activated a one-year extension in his contract that triggered a £25 million release clause – but that can only be activated in the summer.

Alderweireld would cost massive money this window – although he would arguably be the best man for the job.

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